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You may think that after many months, or perhaps two years, you will be done straightening your teeth when your braces are removed. That’s only partly true. Yes, you will have a great deal of hardware off your teeth and off your mind. But, while your braces have done the hard work of moving your teeth into their new alignments, they have not adjusted yet. Your teeth and the ligaments in your jaw need to settle into their new positions. To make sure that happens, your dentist will give you a retainer to wear.

There are essentially two kinds of retainers, fixed and removable. A fixed retainer is cemented into place in your mouth, and has a wire that is behind your teeth. It cannot be remove except by a dentist. You can take out a removable retainer for sports or at night. A removable retainer that has a wire that runs across the front of your teeth. You can brush a fixed retainer just as you would your normal teeth. You should ask your dentist what kind of toothpaste will work best to clean your fixed retainer. You will need to floss around the retainer. You may find that difficult and may need to use a floss threader or a water flosser. You should clean a removable retainer at least once a day. The best way to clean your retainer is with a mixture of water and vinegar. Regular toothpaste may damage your retainer. It should be placed in a soaking solution when you are not wearing it.

Your dentist will give you a container for your appliance. If you need to take your retainer out, place it in the container. Get in the habit of keeping your case in your pocket, purse or backpack, to lessen the chances that you will lose your retainer. They can be very expensive to replace!

Every mouth is different, so the amount of time required to wear a retainer will differ from person to person. Some people wear their retainers for a few months, while others may need to wear one for the rest of their lives. It is important that you wear your retainer for as long as your dentist directs to keep your teeth from slipping back into their old positions.

If you are considering getting braces, or are thinking about another dental procedure, we invite you to come in for an exam and consultation with Dr. John Krupka. To make an appointment at Krupka Dental Associates in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, call 920-766-1122 today.